Insider attacks, cell-site simulators, SIM-swap attacks, thriving markets in super-cheap, fine-grained location data, robocalls, fictitious coverage maps, and more: does the fact that all this terrible shit keeps happening, and only gets worse, mean that mobile companies and the FCC just don't give a fuck if your mobile phone is a crime wave you carry around with you on your pocket?
As Brian Krebs (previously) writes: crooks own your wireless service because no one is willing to erode the profits of the monopolistic, heavily concentrated mobile carriers. Not the carriers themselves, and also not the Trump FCC, whose dingo babysitter Ajit Pai (a former Verizon exec) is why, whenever the carriers get off scot-free, the call is always coming from inside the house.
So what the fresh hell is going on here? And is there any hope that lawmakers or regulators will do anything about these persistent problems? Gigi Sohn, a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy, said the answer — at least in this administration — is probably a big “no.”
“The takeaway here is the complete and total abdication of any oversight of the mobile wireless industry,” Sohn told KrebsOnSecurity. “Our enforcement agencies aren’t doing anything on these topics right now, and we have a complete and total breakdown of oversight of these incredibly powerful and important companies.”
Aaron Mackey, a staff attorney at the EFF, said that on the location data-sharing issue, federal law already bars the wireless carriers from sharing this with third parties without the expressed consent of consumers.
“What we’ve seen is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is well aware of this ongoing behavior about location data sales,” Mackey said. “The FCC has said it’s under investigation, but there has been no public action taken yet and this has been going on for more than a year. The major wireless carriers are not only violating federal law, but they’re also putting people in harm’s way. There are countless stories of folks being able to pretend to be law enforcement and gaining access to information they can use to assault and harass people based on the carriers making location data available to a host of third parties.”
Who Owns Your Wireless Service? Crooks Do. [Brian Krebs/Krebs on Security]